Almost 50% are Unaware it is Too High
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is common around the world and the leading cause of heart disease, but many people are unaware that they have it.
An international team of researchers noted that this is true for wealthy, developed nations as well as low-income countries. And despite the availability of drugs to control high blood pressure, many people who do know they have the condition are not being properly treated.
Blood pressure-lowering drugs are generally inexpensive and commonly available treatments. However, only a third of patients commenced on treatment are on enough treatment to control their blood pressure. This is worst in low-income countries, but significant in high- and middle-income countries, too.
Researchers found that almost half of people with hypertension are unaware of their condition and, among those identified; very few are taking enough treatment to control their condition. Only32 percent of patients who were aware of the fact that they had high blood pressure were effectively keeping their condition under control.
Improvements are needed around the world in the diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure, the researchers concluded.
The findings are troubling and demonstrate a need for systematic efforts to better detect, and treat, those with high blood pressure.
On blood pressure issues in America, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found:
· 31% have high blood pressure
· Over 348,000 American deaths in 2009 included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause
· High blood pressure costs the US $47.5 billion annually in direct medical expenses
· Reducing average sodium intake from 3,300 mg to 2,300 mg per day may reduce cases of high blood pressure by 11 million and save 18 billion health care dollars annually
Learn more at http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure.
Hypertension places stress on other organs, including the heart, kidneys and eyes, causing them to deteriorate over time as well.
Often people with high blood pressure feel normal, so they may not think that they need to be concerned. However, waiting until it’s too late can have dire consequences. Some doctors recommend everyone have a blood pressure cuff in their home. The anxiety of being in a doctor's office or hospital can cause blood pressure readings to be higher than when read at-home.
The blood pressure reading has two numbers. The higher one is the systolic pressure and the lower is diastolic pressure. Blood pressure is considered to be high if the higher number exceeds 140 or the lower number exceeds 90. Traditionally, "normal" is said to be 120 over 80, but this has been overemphasized. Generally, the lower the blood pressure, the better. Low readings are usually found in youngsters and in older people who are in excellent physical condition.
Active treatment of these risk factors through lifestyle modifications like smoking cessation and exercise, or medication, particularly early in life, may not only prevent stroke and heart disease but also preserve cognitive function.
High blood pressure symptoms are also caused by factors which are within our control - such as an unhealthy diet, being overweight, or a high alcohol intake. Too much salt in the diet is also a contributing factor – most Americans consume more salt than they need. A lack of exercise can also contribute to it – and as everyone knows, stress is one of the major causes of high blood pressure.
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